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Supporters push DA to drop charges against NYC liquor store owner who shot would-be robber

Supporters are pushing the district legal professional to drop charges against a liquor store owner who shot a would-be thief final week — claiming the “unjust” rap threatens “his livelihood and freedom.”

A Change.org petition — which has obtained about 1,900 signatures because it was launched on Saturday — known as merchant-turned-suspect Franisco Valerio, 53, a “beloved member of our Ridgewood and Brooklyn community.

“If these charges are not dropped, he will stand trial, lose his business and potentially go to jail,” Jana Vargas-Lora, the petition’s organizer, wrote. “We need 1,000 signatures to show our support and ask for these charges to be dismissed.”

Francisco Valerio
Supporters of Francisco Valerio, a Queens liquor store owner, have known as on the Queens district legal professional to drop the charges against him. Change.org
Surveillance video released Wednesday, May 22, 2024, by the United Bodegas of America reportedly shows Francisco Valerio shooting alleged shoplifter kevin Pullutasi at Franjo Liquor Store 785 Wyckoff Ave in Ridgewood Queens.
In the surveillance video, one of many would-be thieves tries to slip a bottle of brown liquor beneath his jacket. United Bodegas of America
One of the brothers grabbed one of the thieves, while the other grabbed the other pilferer.
One of the brothers grabbed one of many thieves, whereas the opposite grabbed the opposite pilferer. United Bodegas of America

There’s no indication Queens DA Melinda Katz will again off the charges. “

We will follow the evidence where it leads us and litigate this case, and every other, in a court of law,” a spokesperson for Katz instructed The Post.

Valerio, a father of two, is going through seven years in jail after taking pictures Kevin Pullutasi, 20, who together with an confederate tried to steal bottles of liquor at Franja Wines and Liquors in Ridgewood on Monday night time.

Valerio and his brother, Luis, grabbed the pair after they allegedly caught the sticky-fingered duo slipping the bottles beneath their jackets, in accordance to cops and store surveillance footage.

The encounter spilled onto the Wyckoff Avenue pavement, and Pullatasi attacked the brothers simply earlier than Valerio stepped outdoors and took a wild swing together with his proper hand — which held a handgun.

The pistol went off — and the bullet struck Pullatasi, in accordance to a press release from the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital Center, the place he was listed in steady situation.

All three face charges — however Valerio’s two counts of assault are by far probably the most critical.

Many have come to Valerio’s protection within the days following the bloody confrontation.

Neighbors have instructed The Post that Valerio and his brother are upstanding members of the neighborhood who handle their clients and run an excellent enterprise.

Perp Valerio Francisco
Valerio Francisco, 53, (proper) leaves courtroom after his arraignment on Tuesday. Wayne Carrington
Valerio allegedly tried to hit Pullutasi with the gun, but pulled the trigger instead.
Valerio allegedly tried to hit Pullutasi with the gun, however pulled the set off as an alternative. United Bodegas of America
Pullutasi stumbled around after the shooting, and came to rest against a car parked on the road.
Pullutasi stumbled round after the taking pictures, and got here to relaxation against a automobile parked on the highway. United Bodegas of America

Representatives for the United Bodegas of America claimed Pullutasi and Paiquiza had tried to rob Valerio’s store “numerous times.”

“We are threatened, robbed, assaulted and looted every day, and the bad guys get away with it,” group President Radahmes Rodriguez stated. “They are freed without bail and nothing ever happens to them. When we fight back, we are jailed and in some cases prosecuted. This must stop.”

Fernando Mateo, 3rd rt., of the United Bodegas of America speaks to the media during press conference outside the Franjo Liquor Store in Queens, Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Fernando Mateo (on the microphones) of the United Bodegas of America speaks to the media throughout a press convention outdoors the Franjo Liquor Store in Queens, Wednesday, May 22, 2024 Robert Mecea
The exterior of the liquor store.
Neighbors stated they love Valerio, who they described as pleasant retailers. Gregory P. Mango
785 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood
Kevin Pullutasi and Edwin Poaquiza, each 20, allegedly assaulted a employee at Franja Wines and Liquors store in Ridgewood round 7:45 p.m. citizen.com

“We are once again asking DA Melinda Katz to drop the charges,” added UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo spokesman. “Mr. Valerio is an honorable man in society, this should not change his life.”

Many who signed the petition agreed.

“This man should not go to jail. He was protecting his store and himself,” one particular person wrote. “This is not right. Are the two who try to steal going to jail, or just getting a slap on the wrist? This is so unfair. You can’t even protect yourself anymore in this country.”

785 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood
Pullutasi ended up shot within the abdomen, and was introduced to Elmhurst Hospital Center. citizen.com

“Frank is a good man!” wrote one other.

A 3rd stated he signed as a result of Valerio is a “good, hard worker.”

“I know him for a long time, and I know his family,” the person wrote. “God bless him.”

Valerio’s is due again in courtroom on July 29.

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